Patient Education

To help you understand and navigate through your orthopedic health decisions, we have created a patient education section. Please select from one of the categories below to learn more about your condition or procedure.
Clavicle Fracture (Broken Collarbone)

A clavicle fracture, commonly known as a broken collarbone, is a break or crack in the clavicle bone that connects the shoulder blade to the sternum (breastbone).

Common Symptoms

The common symptoms of a clavicle fracture include:

  • Severe pain at the site of the fracture
  • Swelling and bruising around the collarbone area
  • Visible deformity or bump at the fracture site
  • Difficulty moving the affected arm
  • Sagging of the affected shoulder

Cause & Anatomy

Clavicle fractures are typically caused by:

  • Falls onto the shoulder or an outstretched arm
  • Direct blow to the shoulder area
  • Sports injuries, especially in contact sports like football, hockey, etc.

The clavicle (collarbone) is a long, slender bone located at the base of the neck. It connects the shoulder blade (scapula) to the sternum and plays a crucial role in shoulder movement and stability. It also protects underlying nerves and blood vessels.


A clavicle fracture is diagnosed through:

  • Physical examination to check for tenderness, deformity, and range of motion
  • X-rays to confirm the fracture and assess its severity
  • In some cases, CT scans may be ordered for complex fractures


While clavicle fractures cannot be entirely prevented, the risk can be reduced by:

  • Wearing appropriate protective gear during sports and activities
  • Avoiding falls by maintaining a safe environment
  • Practicing caution when engaging in high-risk activities


Treatment for a clavicle fracture depends on the severity and location of the fracture:

  • Immobilization with a sling or figure-of-8 splint for minor fractures
  • Pain medication and cold therapy for pain management
  • Surgery (open reduction and internal fixation) for displaced or complex fractures


Surgery may be required if the bone fragments are significantly displaced or if the fracture involves the joints at either end of the clavicle. The procedure involves realigning the bone fragments and securing them with plates, screws, or pins to allow proper healing.


After surgery, rehabilitation typically involves:

  • Immobilization with a sling for a few weeks
  • Gradual range-of-motion exercises to regain shoulder mobility
  • Strengthening exercises to restore muscle strength
  • Physical therapy to facilitate a full recovery


How long does it take for a clavicle fracture to heal?
Minor fractures may heal within 8 weeks with proper immobilization, while more severe fractures may take 12-16 weeks or longer to heal completely.

Can a clavicle fracture heal without surgery?
Many clavicle fractures can heal without surgery if the bone fragments are not significantly displaced and the fracture is stable.

What are the potential complications of a clavicle fracture?
Potential complications include nonunion (failure of the bone to heal), malunion (improper healing), nerve or blood vessel damage, and shoulder stiffness or weakness.

Remember, it’s essential to seek prompt medical attention if you suspect a clavicle fracture to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment, preventing further complications.

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